Navigation Path: Home arrow Wellbeing arrow Food & Drink arrow Stirring up a Taste Sensation with Healthy Smoothies!  
 
Stirring up a Taste Sensation with Healthy Smoothies! Print E-mail
Robin Forrester   
Wednesday, 05 November 2008
Stirring up a Taste Sensation with Healthy Smoothies!Easy, fun to make, delicious, refreshing, natural, healthy and colourful, these are just some of the words you could use to describe a smoothie. Smoothies are the fantastic blended shakes full of fruit or vegetables that supply us with a glass of delicious goodness bursting with energy. It’s also one of the easiest ways to get those all-important five daily servings of fruit and vegetables. The famous thickened consistency comes from adding milk, yogurt or cream, there are dozens more alternatives such as rice milk, soy milk, goats milk, butter milk and the always popular ice cream. In this article we will explore why smoothies can be healthy for you, how to make your own delicious healthy smoothies and also give you some tasty ideas for inspiration.

The Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables in Smoothies
Amazingly the health benefits of smoothies have been known in different parts of the world long before the term smoothie was coined and the healthy drink found its way into cafes and kiosks. Many recipes used today originate in the Middle East and the Mediterranean where people have enjoyed the super health benefits of blending fruit or vegetables for generations, but now the secret’s out!

The benefits of fruit and vegetables are numerous. Fruit for example is jam packed with vitamins and antioxidants, which together are vital for maintaining good health and preventing disease in the body. Vegetables are known to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease and even cancer. With smoothies also containing virtually zero percent fat, it’s easy to see why more and more people are squeezing a glass into their daily diets.

Dr John Briffa author of “The True You Diet” comments, “One thing I like about smoothies, as compared to fruit juices, is that they tend to contain the whole fruit, which means the nutritional value of the fruit is better preserved. I think it's a good idea to put some berries (such as blackberries, raspberries or strawberries) in a smoothie, as these tend to be packed with nutritional value, and may be lower in sugar than other fruits”.

In their book “Nutrition for Life”, Doctors Lisa Hark and Darwin Deen suggest, "Servings each day should be chosen from a good variety of different types and colours of vegetables and fruits, in order to maximise all of their potential health benefits."

Even as a weight loss aid, smoothies are fantastic due to the very low calorie count and the low fat content of fruit. Doctors Lisa Hark and Darwin Deen go on to say that, “Packed with vitamins, beneficial phytochemicals (chemicals found in plants), minerals and fibre, fruits are an integral part of a healthy diet. They contain up to 80 per cent water and are 100 per cent cholesterol free, eating fruits as often as possible throughout the day will help bolster the nutritive value of your diet.”. Fruit and vegetables are not solely reserved for the vegetarians among us, they are fantastic super foods that should be included in everyone’s daily diet!

Getting Started with Your Smoothie
The first thing you’ll need to make your delicious smoothie is a blender or a food processor. If you’re looking to purchase a blender, try to find one with a jug, this will make things so much easier when pouring out your creation. Better still, get yourself a brand new smoothie maker designed solely for the production of smoothies at home. Regardless of the blender, food processor or fancy smoothie maker you use, the most important part of any smoothie you make will always be, the ingredients.

How to Pick Your Ingredients
The freshness of the fruit or vegetables you use is vitally important; this could really be the difference between a good smoothie and an amazing smoothie. When buying your fruit and vegetables, try to pick ones that are just ripe, as picking over ripe fruit can have the effect of making your smoothie too sweet.

If you’re going for a fruit smoothie, try softer fruits as these will blend much more easily and produce a great texture. Examples of soft fruits include stone fruits (peaches, apricots and avocado) and berries (raspberries, strawberries etc.). If you’re going for a vegetable based smoothie you might want to sweeten things up using natural sweeteners like dates, raisins, or honey.

Thickening Your Smoothie
Next, the base ingredient, the stuff which makes your smoothie nice and thick! You could try dairy products like milk, cream, custard, and crème fraiche. If you’re feeling decadent try some ice cream but watch out for the fat content. For a healthier kick try using goat’s milk, which is far more nutrient rich compared with cow’s milk. There are plenty of dairy alternatives for those who are lactose intolerant including; soya, rice, nut and oat milk.

Need more flavour? How about mixing things up a little with some coffee, chocolate powder, vanilla or even a squeeze of lemon or lime.

To reap the full benefits of your healthy smoothie, try to consume it within ten minutes of making it. This is the optimum time after which the enzymes in the fruit or vegetable start breaking down and decreases its nutritious impact. Susannah Blake says in her book, ‘Juices & Smoothies Galore’, “The great thing about making your own juices and smoothies is that it means you get the absolute best out of them that you can. You control the freshness of the fruit and vegetables used, and can adjust the quantities of ingredients included to create a drink exactly to your liking.”

Smoothie Recipes to Wake Your Taste Buds!
There are literally hundreds of mouth-watering concoctions waiting to whizzed up, sipped and gulped. A fabulous recipe to start with is again from ‘Juices & Smoothies Galore’, the “Kiwi - Tastic” for a sharp sweet Kiwi and pear sensation (complete recipe below). Another fantastic recipe from the book is the super healthy “Cherry Berry Nectar” (complete recipe below) to provide a delicious rush of flavours. Once you’re ready to move onto something a little more adventurous, how about the tingly fresh “Spiced Melon & Pineapple Smoothie” with melon, ginger, cardamom and pineapple. Finally, for a great vegetable smoothie try the “Broccoli Space Rocket” with its combination of broccoli, rocket and celery providing rejuvenation in a glass.

With so many fruits and vegetables out there, it won’t take you long to discover a delicious recipe to call your own. So with the amazing health benefits of fruits and vegetables clear to see, why not harness these super foods into your life? Stir up a natural treat for your body, mind, and taste buds by whizzing up a delicious healthy smoothie today!  Just don’t forget to clean up afterwards!

The Kiwi Tastic
Pear, Kiwifruit & Lime
The kiwifruit in this smoothie not only gives it a delightful green colour speckled with its tiny black seeds, but also gives it an almost peppery aftertaste. The sweet, sharp flavour is quite intense so you’ll only need a small glassful to satisfy you.

Makes 1 glass

2 pears, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 kiwifruit, peeled and roughly chopped
Juice of 1/4 lime

1. Peel the pears and cit into pieces, then press through a juicer to extract the juice.
2. Pour the juice into a food processor or blender and add the kiwifruit flesh. Blend until smooth, then stir in lime juice to taste. Pour into a glass and serve.


The Cherry Berry Nectar
Cherry, Strawberry, Milk, Yougurt & Honey
Add a special touch to this juicy drink by making cherry ice cubes – simply pop a whole pitted cherry into each section of your ice cube tray, fill with water as usual and then freeze.

Makes 4 glasses

100g sweet cherries
100g strawberries, hulled
475ml milk
160ml plain yogurt
3 tablespoons honey
Cherrry-filled ice cubes, to serve

1. Remove the stalks and stones from the cherries. If you don’t have a cherry-pitter, cut around the crease of each cherry, gently prize the two halves apart and putt out the stone.
2. Put the cherries and strawberries in a food processor or blender and add the milk, yogurt and honey. Blend until smooth.
3. Pour into tall glasses and add a couple of cherry-filled ice cubes to each.

(These recipes have been republished with kind permission of Octopus Publishing Group Ltd, distributed by Penguin Group)

Robin Forrester is a staff writer at Harmonious Living.
Share |
Disclaimer: Harmonious Living is written for and read by a community of individuals with strong and independent opinions. While the publishers of Harmonious Living are dedicated to providing a forum in which views can be openly expressed, those views do not necessarily reflect those of the publishers.
Related Articles

 
 
 
 
Contact Us | Sitemap | Terms & Conditions | Search | Login
 
 
     
You may also like: Self Centr